Sunday, February 24

the cheese chronicles

I've made two batches of cheese so far this winter--Cheddar and Monterey Jack. I thought I'd try aging them in vacuum bags this time (versus in wax) because it seemed like the easier thing to do. However, the Cheddar developed some mold after a month and the Jack developed mold after just a few weeks. The mold isn't anything to be concerned with, but it does need to be addressed (i.e. it must be wiped off with a vinegar and salt solution).

But, it got me thinking back to my first batch of cheese, which was waxed and had no mold issues. So, I got out the waxing pot tonight, wiped down the cheeses and waxed them. The Jack cheese will be eaten at the beginning of April, but the Cheddar won't be ready until next January. I'll have to keep an eye on them to make sure no mold develops beneath the wax, but I'm hopeful this will do the trick.

I ordered some more cheesemaking supplies last week for my upcoming batches of stirred curd Cheddar (which is a slightly less labor-intensive version of Cheddar) and Parmesan (which, incidentally, does not get waxed). That will be it for my cheese-making adventures until next winter as gardening season is about to kick into gear.

Monday, February 18

brian's bd part 3

The third and final birthday celebration for Brian took place last night at his parent's house. They did a "summer in February" theme with picnic food. Bonus: leftover ribs for today's lunch. Yum!

Friday, February 15

brian's bd part 2

Brian, Jacob and I celebrated Brian's birthday last night. He wanted soup (homemade clam chowder) and sandwiches, so I got off easy. One to go...

Monday, February 11

brian's bd part 1

My mom made a delicious turkey dinner (plus the best cheesecake I've eaten since I can't remember) yesterday for Brian's birthday. One down, two to go.

Sunday, February 10

beasts of the southern wild

Every once in a while I like to break out of my comfort zone and watch a film that I wouldn't normally watch. Sometimes, I am rewarded, like with Winter's Bone. Other times I am disappointed, such as with this film. Overall the film did do a number of things correctly (the Oscar-nominated 6 year old who played the main role was excellent), but ultimately the film did not hold my interest. Generally speaking, the plot was kind of boring and the back story about the cavemen and ancient animals who walked the earth did not mesh well with the story.

Saturday, February 9

taxes

It seems like all we do is pay taxes (yearly, quarterly, monthly). I met with our accountant last week for our federal taxes. Due to our business, our taxes are due on March 15. I made a super early appointment this year, but thanks to last minute changes by congress, our accountant can't even file our taxes until the end of this month. But, at least they are done and it won't take long to get our refund once filed.

When we had regular jobs, we never received a refund (which is my preference), but since Brian has the graphic design business, we've been getting some significant money back mostly because the business is growing so we've been spending more than we're making. Last year, we actually had a profit, but we were able to write off some losses from the previous year. I guess it's better than owing money. As the business continues to grow, I'm sure our refunds will get smaller and smaller.

Anyway, this year's refund is buying me a sidecar for my motorcycle. It's going to be so cool. Unfortunately there aren't any sidecar dealers in the area, so we're trying to figure out where to buy it from. Worst case, we'll be buying it directly from the manufacturer. But, they only sell for the MSRP, so we're trying to see if we can get a better deal somewhere else. We need to do this now because the place I bought my bike will be installing it and once the weather is nice they won't have time to do it (and I don't want to be without a bike all summer).

Tuesday, February 5

not so super bowl

We hosted our annual Super Bowl party on Sunday. This year's party had a Napa Valley theme. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but when it came down to it, it was a bit tough pulling together a menu.  

As for the game, that was also tough. I used to be 49ers fan, but that was long ago (and I don't like their current coach). And, I hate the Ravens, so what's a girl to do? I ended up rooting for the Ravens, but I wasn't happy about it. Next year, we're going to do some sort of giveaway thing to ensure that an uninteresting game (like this one) is made more interesting.

On the negative side, after everyone arrived, the dogs were all excited and Lizzy ended up biting Alice's ear. A similar thing happened at the end of last year when someone was at the door (only that time Lizzy bit Buster's ear). I don't know what's up with Lizzy and ears, but those were the first two incidents we've had in a few years. I guess we're going to have to keep her crated if there's a lot of excitement in the house.

Saturday, February 2

the avengers

This was one action-packed movie. Unfortunately, it took a bit of setup to get to the action part. Even though Iron Man was a character in this movie, I didn't like it as much as the Iron Man movies (which are pretty witty, but this movie took itself a little too seriously, though it did have a couple of funny scenes). That said, it was way better than watching any of those dreary Batman flicks (which I gave up on years ago).